Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Each year new cut flowers are introduced. Some of these are suitable for cutting gardens, including baby's breath as well as the celosias.
Cassiopeia baby’s breath is a relatively new variety. Plants will be available at garden centers and other sources. This variety is noted for its sturdy stems. It blooms continuously for a long period, and produces lots of stems for cutting. When the stems are harvested, a new flush of flower stems will appear.
The large feathery, fine textured white blooms are dainty. The well branched stems contain delicate sprays of tiny flowers.
In floral designs all the baby's breath varieties are used as small filler flowers. They’re great for corsages and for boutonnieres. These are also a good everlasting. As fresh cut flowers, the stems are ready to cut when about ¾ of the blossoms on a stem have opened. For everlastings, wait until most of the blooms are open before cutting. Baby’s breath has a vase life of about a week or so.
Though Cassiopeia is a perennial, it can be short lived in some climates. Baby’s breath needs a light, well drained, alkaline soil. Full sun is best.
Celosia Sunday Series
This series features the plumed celosias. The Sunday series has wispy, well shaped plumes. The long stems are the perfect size for cut flowers. The series includes four separate colors. Sunday Red is the new pure red.
As a cut flower, they’re used as a medium form and mass flower. These flowers have a long vase life. The stems are ready to harvest when nearly all of the flowers on a stem are fully developed. These flowers make a good everlasting. Air drying is easy and quick.
In the cutting garden, the celosias need full sun. They prefer a rich, moist soil. It is best to start the seeds indoors about six weeks before the last expected frost. These need a warm temperature for best germination rates—about 70 degrees Fahrenheit as a minimum. The seeds take one to two weeks to sprout.